If You're Serious About Perfect Waffles, Opt For A Cast Iron Waffle Maker

You might already be a cast iron skillet convert: the classic, sturdy pans are beloved for the ability to sear steaks, bake cornbread, and serve as an alternative for pizza stones. But chances are, you've never used a cast iron waffle maker before — even if you're a hardcore waffle aficionado.

So what makes cast iron so great for waffles? The same things that make it so great for steaks, cornbread, and pizza. Cast iron holds heat extremely well: the pan stays hot even when you fill it with food straight from the fridge. This quality is essential for crispy crusts and succulent sears. It also makes for light, fluffy waffles with a satisfying crunch.

Most modern waffle makers are made from aluminum, which doesn't retain heat as well as cast iron. Aluminum is a practical option for most people, but cast iron converts maintain that the metal's superior heat retention makes a big difference in texture. For many waffle fans, it's this unique texture that sets cast iron waffle makers apart.

Cast iron can be tricky — but rewarding

Here's the catch: most cast iron waffle makers on the market aren't electric. The available ones are generally meant for commercial use — and come with a hefty price tag. But, while an old-fashioned "analog" waffle maker may seem daunting, crispier waffles are just one advantage to ditching the cord.

Admittedly, cast iron waffle makers come with a learning curve. Learning to care for cast iron can be tricky, but adjusting your cooking technique will likely be the biggest challenge. Unlike electric waffle makers, cast iron doesn't have precise temperature controls or lights to let you know when your waffles are done. You'll need to flip the waffle maker to make sure that both sides cook evenly, and figuring out the timing and temperature can take a little trial and error.

Once you get used to it, using a cast iron waffle maker isn't that much harder than modern electric models. It's a better investment, too. While good cast iron can last decades — or even centuries — standard electric waffle makers only last a few years before they start to break down. Even if the waffle maker still functions fine, you'll need to switch to a newer model when the nonstick coating starts to deteriorate. Plus, going non-electric offers its own advantages. Camping fan? Cast iron waffle makers work well over a campfire — and Belgian buttermilk waffles are even more satisfying when you're off the grid.